"Dumb on all counts" - the experts chime in on the gas tax holiday idea

Photo by Ewen and Donabel. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.

First, Republican presidential candidate John McCain had the brilliant idea to prove his ignorance of the economy by calling for a gas tax holiday. Basically, he proposed, the federal gas tax (currently set at 18.4 cents a gallon) and the diesel tax (24.4 cents) should be suspended between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Not much later, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton made the wrong move and backed the plan. Thus far, Democratic challenger Barack Obama is keeping his wits about him and is denouncing the plan.

But what do people who aren't running for president think? It's impossible for us to keep tabs on everyone who discusses the energy issue, because everybody's talking about it. Still, I wanted to point out one bit of media that covers the issue better than any other I've read/seen/heard. Earlier today on the Diane Rhem Show, three guests - Neil King, Jr., The Wall Street Journal's international energy reporter, Roger Diwan, partner, head of financial advisory PFC Energy, Mark Cooper, director of research for the Consumer Federation of America - discussed the gas tax holiday and rising oil prices. I'm not sure which one of the three said it, but one of them called the idea "dumb on all counts." He is not the only critic of the idea (Tom Friedman recently lambasted it); in fact, it seems like just about everyone says it's a bad idea. Diane told her listeners that the show's producer looked long and hard for someone to defend the idea, but couldn't find anyone who was willing. And, while we can't possibly point you to everyone's thoughts on this issue, this morning's Diane Rhem show (listen here) presents a good, hour-long discussion on why McCain and Clinton has grabbed the wrong end of this political stick. Your thoughts?

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